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December 13, 2009

France secures internal markets post

France’s Michel Barnier is EC President José Manuel Barroso’s choice for the Internal Market and Services Commissioner in the new European Commission.

The new commission must gain approval from the European Parliament before it takes office for a term running until 31 October 2014. The vote is scheduled to take place on 26 January.

The appointment will raise further fears about the future of IFRS in Europe as France has been one of the member states most critical of the international standards.

The French have been one of the main forces behind recent political pressure on the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), which manifested itself in a hasty amendment to IAS 39 in late 2008.

France was also one of the member states that prevented the EC from fast-tracking endorsement of the IASB’s new financial instruments classification and measurement standard IFRS 9 – a move that has been met with disappointment by much of the accounting profession.

Speaking with The Accountant recently, Federation of European Accountants (Fédération des Experts Comptables Européens – FEE) president Hans van Damme said he did not know how much the new internal markets commissioner would want to exercise influence on accounting standards.

“But we at FEE are convinced that standards need to be set by a global standards setter who is both independent and accountable,” van Damme said.

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